Psychologist Amy Cuddy defines Presence as, "The state of being attuned to and able to comfortably express our true thoughts, feelings, values and potential."
She goes on to say that it "stems from believing and trusting your story, your feelings, beliefs, values, and abilities."
So how can we be fully present if we haven't established our values and beliefs?
If we haven't clarified these things, then we lack a strong foundation. It's hard to have a clear sense of identity if we don't stand for anything.
This reminded me of Benjamin Franklin's list of 13 Virtues.
- Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
- Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
- Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
- Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
- Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
- Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
- Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
- Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
- Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
- Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
- Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
- Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Franklin created this system as a way of developing his character. He would revisit days of the week and make a note when he failed to practice a particular virtue.
At the age of 20, Franklin clarified his values using this approach. It helped guide him throughout a life of remarkable accomplishments.
When you establish your values, it helps you focus. You can base every decision on whether or not it lives up to your values. So what do you stand for?